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Spring Cleaning…

I have been having a bit of a spring clean. Don’t get worried, I’m not turning into a Domestic Goddess, I have concentrated on my wardrobe and accessories. Gone are any summer clothes that didn’t make it out of the wardrobe during last year’s glorious sunshine. Ditto with winter clothes. I know we’re still in winter, but believe me if I was going to wear it I would have done so by now. I also pulled out all of the handbags that I own (believe me, they fill a cupboard by themselves!) and out went any that I didn’t like any more, and there were a fair few that I had forgotten I had! Out went scarves, gloves and hats that I no longer wore. The same with shoes – why do I keep shoes that I’ve discarded as uncomfortable? Even underwear was sorted, although I put that in the rag bag. Second hand underwear shouldn’t even be a thought inside anybody’s head. You would think I had oodles of wardrobe space now, wouldn’t you? If only!! At least everything fits in now there isn’t so much crammed inside.

Now I need a trip to the charity shop.

Next I attacked my dressing table. Gone are the half used products that didn’t suit my admittedly fussy skin, gone is any out of date make up, or make up that turned out not to suit me (why did I keep it in the first place?) My spare toiletries are stacked neatly in their basket, nail varnishes in their little storage case, spare make up sponges, cotton wool etc in a  freebie make up bag. Yet more freebie make up bags went into the charity bag and the lovely ones which I have received as gifts are in a cupboard, ready for my next trip away. I even sorted the travel sized products which I use on holidays, chucked any old ones and made a list of those I need to replace.

My humongous work bag was sorted, although I did that two weeks ago when I went back to work. How does it collect so much rubbish in a fortnight? I then sorted my other handbags. I generally use one of two – both vintage, one larger than the other. If I am going anywhere where I may need my Kindle I use the larger one. It will comfortably hold that along with my purse, card wallet, phone, keys, handkerchief sachet (yes, I own a handkerchief sachet, although it holds paper tissues as I don’t like carrying snot laden hankies around) and a tiny make up bag containing powder compact, lipstick, lip balm, hand cream, nail file and a comb. With the smaller handbag I have to pretend I am a Proper Lady and carry less. It is leather lined, with an internal zipped pocket, so I use that as a purse/card wallet and only carry phone, keys, hankies, lipstick and powder. Apparently that is all Proper Ladies used to carry (with the exception of the phone, of course!) which is why vintage handbags are so much smaller than the cabin trunks we haul around today. Really it’s no wonder almost every female of my acquaintance has some sort of back/neck/shoulder problem!

So now my surroundings and possessions are sorted it is time to spring clean my waistline. If only I could siphon off my excess flab and throw it in the bin!

January so far…

I have been very firmly told that I should blog more often as I have plenty to say, even when I think I don’t. So here I am.

January so far has been cold, damp, dark and dreary and so so long. This is nothing new. I also get paid early in December so January is even more of a struggle financially than the rest of the year. I wish I could get my sewing/knitting classes paid for as somebody I know does. This is very annoying to me as she gets far more in benefits than I earn in three months and she is clearly fiddling the system. The classes being paid for are to improve her mental health and get her out of the house, although she paid for the classes herself for years. I think I might ask my doctor if I can get such a benefit as there are times when paying the fees causes me much worry about money (usually in January!)

On the bright side I feel better this year than I have done for years. I am hoping that I can hold onto that feeling for the next twelve months. I have been catching up on my reading, in an attempt to reduce the to-read piles both by my bed and on my Kindle. I have also been knitting, usually while catching up on some of the TV which I recorded over Christmas. I’ve even managed to have some kitchen pottering time. I used an unwanted box of After Eights to make a pudding, recipe from Lavender and Lovage. It just mixed melted After Eights and cream but if I made it again I would add a beaten egg white to lighten it and give it more of a mousse-like texture. It looked very pretty served, as suggested, in pretty cups and saucers
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I also did a piece of creating that would give Mrs Moneypenny from Superscrimpers a real thrill. I have been looking for a footstool for ages, to make sitting on the sofa more comfortable and less likely to set off my neck and back pain, but all the ones within my budget were too high. I had been tidying up and was sat recovering, with my feet resting on my old Next Directory. It struck me that it was the perfect height…so I amalgamated the box from my new Directory with my old Directories, glued wadding (aka batting) all round it, with extra on the top for comfort. Then I stitched it into a fabric envelope and voila! The perfect footstool and you would never know it was made out of old clothing catalogues.
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I will probably spend the rest of the month much as I have been doing, but we’ll see…..

2013

It is that time of year when everybody seems to look backwards. That isn’t my cup of tea, especially if the past year hasn’t been a good one. As 2013 wasn’t the best of years I shall store up the good memories in a little pot and look forward to all that 2014 brings.

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Vintage goodies

I went to the vintage & retro fair at Marton Country Club today. I haven’t been for a few months, although I easily could because it’s only in the village. Anyway it wasn’t crowded, although there were plenty of people there and there were lots of goodies on display. I spent a while just wandering around looking, figuring that anything that caught my eye would still be there when I went back for it if I were meant to have it.

I did see a lot of lovely clothes but I hadn’t brought money for clothes, I wanted a few bits to make my dressing table look pretty. Here is what I ended up with:

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One vintage style bag, one vintage leather lined bag, a couple of scarves for my hair, a beret that had some pretty beads sewn onto it, buttons and earrings, a hair clip/brooch. The music book is for Dad’s Christmas stocking and the Wedgwood pot is intended for cotton wool buds. The milk jug and sugar bowl are very similar to a cup and saucer and cake plate that I have. As I don’t take sugar I’ve used the sugar bowl on my dressing table and the milk jug will go with my other china. 

The next vintage fair is on my birthday so I think I’ll nip down first thing and have a look-see before I am taken out for lunch.

Inspired by Retro Chick ‘s latest post (www.retrochick.co.uk) I was set to thinking about how people see others, in respect to their dress. I like to think of myself as pretty non judgmental when it comes to how people look but I am sure I make subconscious judgments about people based on their clothes. In my world view going outside of your own garden in your pyjamas is unacceptable. I have been known to dash to the bin in my PJs when I think the binmen might turn up while I’m dressing, but going to the shops/school run etc is just Not On. It only takes five minutes to wash your face, yank a brush through your hair and pull on jeans or joggers and a top. Where did the going out in PJs come from? It strikes me as pure laziness and not having respect for yourself. (To any of my friends who do this, I still love you and all your flaws :-*) I sometimes see people in the street and long to give them a makeover – nothing radical – simply replacing ill fitting clothes with well fitting and in colours that suit them.

I always used to dress to suit my own taste and style, yes there were a few disasters but that’s part of growing up and discovering who you are. Then medication caused me to pile on weight and life caused me to lose myself. I fell into the ill-fitting jeans/t shirt/ponytail all the time trap which is fine if that is you but it isn’t me. Yanking myself up by the bootstraps I cut my waist length hair into a layered bob, rediscovered¬† my eyeliner, lost 3st and found my own sense of style once more.
I dress to please myself which means dresses of all lengths, but with a leaning towards tea dresses and circle dresses for everyday, classic jersey dresses (mostly Boden ebay bargains) or skater dresses for work and either cigarette, Capri or wide legged trousers. My jeans are slim fitting, because that’s how I like them. I do have a couple of pairs of boot cut jeans and cords but I don’t wear them very often. Going out I will wear “wiggle” or pencil dresses but I haven’t quite worked up the courage to wear them during the day – other than pencil skirts. Maybe getting some sucky-in underwear will make me braver! People often say I look dressed up when I think I’m just dressed normally. Today is a “slobbing clothes” kind of day and I’m in a pair of plum coloured, boot cut cords, a somewhat faded black, long sleeved tunic top and my favourite cardigan which is actually knitted from a 1950′s bedjacket pattern. That kind of outfit may be dressed up to somebody else.

I think what I’m trying to say that everybody has the right to wear what they damn well want but it is my opinion that everybody should respect themselves enough to wear well fitting clothes that suit them, whatever their style…….and leave the pyjamas at home!

New boots

I have a huge problem buying knee high boots. Although I am below the average size of a British woman (size 16) I have very fat calves. I rarely find knee boots that fit in ordinary shoe shops, they simply will not zip up. Pull on ones are a bit better but they’re rather thin on the ground. Knee high boots from shops for the fuller figure, such as Evans are too big and baggy around the calves. So when I got the small financial benefits of working extra hours I decided to look around for a pair of boots that fit. I ended up at Duo (www.duoboots.com if the link doesn’t work)who sell footwear based on measurements rather than standard sizes. Shoes and ankle boots are based on the width of your foot, while knee high boots come in standard shoe sizes but they have up to 21 calf widths. I gaily measured my calves, filled in the form and my bank account was distinctly poorer for it. The first lot I received were too small because I’d measured my calves too low down, so I watched the measuring guide video clip and measured again. Precisely one week after taking the unsuitable pair to the courier collection point my replacement pair arrived.

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They are beautifully packaged, in a very strong box, much stronger than the usual shoeboxes. Each boot was stuffed both foot and calf to keep them in shape and they were lovingly wrapped in tissue with a leaflet with instructions on care.

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The outer boot is lovely glossy black leather, really soft and the quality feels wonderful. The linings are also leather, buttery soft and a pale gold.

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They feel wonderful on my bare legs, they don’t rub at all, although I am more likely to be wearing them with tights or leggings. Some of the reviews complained that the ankles were too small but I didn’t find it so. Either my ankles are slimmer than I thought they were or those reviewers had ankles that are much larger than mine. The fit on my feet was very good too, my feet tend towards a narrower fit but the cut of the boot feet is on the narrow side too so no problems there.

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As all who know me are aware, I am addicted to heels, although nothing too high. These are described as ‘mid heel’ and are a comfortable height for walking in. They give me enough lift that my stunted growth isn’t as noticeable and I merely look dainty and petite……at least that is my intention and please don’t disabuse me of that!!!

These boots were really out of the budget that I had set myself, but they are worth every penny and are worth the effort of being skint for a month. The quality is superb, the customer service is excellent and with suitable care these boots should last a good few years. That will mean the cost per wear will be an absolute bargain (and also give me plenty of time to save up for my next pair!)

Lush lips

After looking at Lush’s new(ish) collection of make up every time I went into my local store over the last few months I finally took the plunge and bought one of their liquid lipsticks. I can never resist a good red lippie so I chose Decisive, described as “a vintage cherry red”. It is a rich, blue toned red, not too liquidy and it comes in a dinky glass bottle with a sponge applicator

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(Photo courtesy of Lush)

The applicator doesn’t feel too strong, indeed a bit wobbly, so I am very

careful when pulling it out as I don’t want to break it. It looks pillar box red in the packaging but it is more of a pink toned red when applied to skin

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It gives wonderfully rich, smooth coverage on the lips. Only one coat was needed for bold colour and it is lovely and soft and doesn’t dry the lips out as other long lasting lip colours can do. I can easily wear it alone and not feel dry. It is still on my lips after lunch and several cups of tea, although the softness had dried a bit but it returned after a swift application of clear gloss. The colour isn’t as red, it has toned down to a much pinkier shade which is not unpleasant and I suspect it will finally end up as a stain – not something I would complain about!

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I would certainly buy more of Lush’s cosmetics, indeed I have my eye on Perspective, a natural dusky rose colour, for days when I want to be subtle or to emphasize my eyes.

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